Does the butt over the sitbones toughen up with more time on the water?

4 months 6 days ago - 4 months 6 days ago #36648 by Arcturus
On my second outing with the 520 S, I moved the footplate one position farther from me. It had felt a bit cramped, with a bit too much knee bend on my first session. That small adjustment does feel better now, and I am also able to push better with the foot without inadvertently pushing the rudder pedals. Happy about that!

As a plus, my sitbones are less sore than they were last time. But they still got a little achy in the last half hour or so (I paddled 2+ hrs). My question now is, Will the muscles over them toughen up similarly to what happens after bicycling regularly? It isn’t a case of chafing but one of pressure.

The chafting over the bony protrusions over the coccyx that I experienced after my intro lessons back in September has not recurred. I looked at some photos my husband had taken of me then and realized my posture was slumped. Not a huge amount, but enough to cause the chafing problem. So I studiously avoided it this spring. Happy about that, too.

Am trying to work out a sling system to carry the ski safely from vehicle to water. Although its light weight is easy to carry, my height (or lack thereof) makes the ends vulnerable to dipping down, since I can’t watch both at the same time. I have the Forearm Forklift 3” wide straps sold as aids for moving furniture; maybe one or both of those can be used.

Meanwhile, we do 2-person carry. However, my husband isn’t going to want to paddle as frequently as I do, so I have to work out something for a more secure single-person carry. There isn’t enough of a cockpit lip to allow the traditional sea kayak shoulder carry.

I use a Gara Odin S paddle, which I like. No problems adapting to a wing from a Euro blade (zero feather). One big difference is if I lay the paddle flat across in front of me for a moment, I have to make sure the blades don’t catch any water, because unlike the Euro blade, it seems to then want to pull the rest of the paddle over.

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4 months 6 days ago #36649 by MCImes
My study of 1 says yes. When I first got my Swordfish S it was uncomfortable on the side and coccyx. I dealt with it for a couple months and by the end of summer the discomfort had passed. To be clear my discomfort was only a 3/10 at worst. There are many cases where you just need a new bucket (boat), but it doesnt sound like you have it bad.

I'd deal with it for a while and see if it gets better after 10-20 sessions. If it doesn't you could consider seat padding or slightly padded shorts like Vaikobi's or something similar.

Currently - Swordfish S in Southern California's ocean waters
Past Boats: Epic V10 g0, Stellar SR g1, Fenn XT g1
"When you've done something right, they wont know you've done anything at all"

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4 months 6 days ago - 4 months 6 days ago #36650 by Steve Hansen
Every bodies backside is different. My feeling is you either have natural padding or you don't. I suggest you make or buy the classic 'B' shaped pad. Look at Epic's website. If that doesn't work, check out the Skwoosh pads that use fluid gel. You may also need a back band to keep your spine from rubbing the back of the bucket.

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4 months 6 days ago #36651 by mrcharly
Yes it gets better.

The first time I paddled for over an hour without getting out of the boat (K1), my entire arse hurt so much I was nearly sobbing with relief when I got to a portage point. Now I do 1.5, 2 hours continuous and don't get any backside problems (one heel goes numb though).

I'm told that padded shorts can help.

Stretching certainly helps; if your hamstrings are tight, everything from the small of your back to your knees will be under tension. After a while that is going to hurt. 

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4 months 5 days ago - 4 months 5 days ago #36653 by Arcturus
If it improves as much with each subsequent session as it did between the first and second ones, I should be set not too far in the future.

When I got out after the first outing, it was my thighs that felt tight, not the hamstrings. Possibly that resulted from the too-close footbrace position. Mrcharly, when I got off the water that time and bent down to pick up the stern handle, I yelped in surprised pain because my thigh muscles suddenly cramped! 

The second time, all was well other than the mild sitbone ache. Legs felt like they got used but not tight or sore. I stopped twice for a minute or so to drape my legs over the gunnels and skootch down so I was sort of lying on my back (as well as the darned PFD would allow). That gave the sitbones a brief break. Padding the bucket or shorts might be needed, but I’ll use the same clothes (neoprene, not sure if it is 2mm or 1.5mm) I have for now and see if the muscles over those bones get tougher.

I stretch after every paddle or hike or bike. Or weeding session.

And yeah, when I sit on a memory foam mattress or padded chair, my sitbones leave dimples in the foam. I should trace the entire butt impression including the dimples, and use it as a template. Photocopy and print 3D?!??

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4 months 5 days ago #36654 by zachhandler
 I am someone who struggles with sit bone pain in most skis. It is possible in my experience to "toughen up" the bottom over a period of months. But this needs to be done carefully and in a measured fashion. If you force yourself through too much pain you will not have adequate healing by the next paddle, and you will enter an escalating cycle of ever increasing tissue damage and inflammation.

I did this to myself last year. I had to take a month of from paddling due to an injury, then went to the Columbia river gorge for 6 days of 2 downwind paddles a day. I was in my own ski, the most comfortable ski I have ever owned, padded to my exact specifications. Nevertheless, by the end of the week I was in pain every moment I was in the ski. But the runs were awesome and so I toughed it out and kept paddling.  

When I got home from that vacation I could not tolerate 5 minutes in a ski or kayak, and could barely sit in a chair at work.  I had given myself raging ischial bursitis on both sides. I was in agony and had to take 3 weeks completely off from paddling to let healing occur and inflammation subside. 

Once I was at the point in recovery where I could tolerate 5, but not 10 minutes in a ski, I started inventing workouts around that limitation. In one workout I would paddle 5 minutes hard then hop in the water and do vigorous water jogging for a couple minutes next to the ski, remount, and repeat for an hour or so. I also did my own Australian iron man style workouts where I would paddle 5 minutes, swim 5, then run 5 in waist deep water. 

I suggest you try to end your workout within 10-15 minutes of the onset of discomfort. If you are still getting worse with that strategy then you need to start getting off the water even sooner, and maybe even take some time completely off. 

I agree with your observations about leg length. Straighter legs is usually easier on the sit bones. The downside is that straighter legs require greater posterior chain flexibility to maintain good posture. In addition, straighter legs (especially flexibility is poor) decreases pressure on the footboard, and powerful paddling can only happen when you can easy get firm constant foot pressure. 

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4 months 5 days ago - 4 months 5 days ago #36655 by zachhandler
 I am someone who struggles with sit bone pain in most skis. It is possible in my experience to "toughen up" the bottom over a period of months. But this needs to be done carefully and in a measured fashion. If you force yourself through too much pain you will not have adequate healing by the next paddle, and you will enter an escalating cycle of ever increasing tissue damage and inflammation.

I did this to myself last year. I had to take a month off from paddling due to an injury, then went to the Columbia river gorge for 6 days of 2 downwind paddles a day. I was in my own ski, the most comfortable ski I have ever owned, padded to my exact specifications. Nevertheless, by the end of the week I was in pain every moment I was in the ski. But the runs were awesome and so I toughed it out and kept paddling.  

When I got home from that vacation I could not tolerate 5 minutes in a ski or kayak, and could barely sit in a chair at work.  I had given myself raging ischial bursitis on both sides. I was in agony and had to take 3 weeks completely off from paddling to let healing occur and inflammation subside. 

Once I was at the point in recovery where I could tolerate 5, but not 10 minutes in a ski, I started inventing workouts around that limitation. In one workout I would paddle 5 minutes hard then hop in the water and do vigorous water jogging for a couple minutes next to the ski, remount, and repeat for an hour or so. I also did my own Australian iron man style workouts where I would paddle 5 minutes, swim 5, then run 5 in waist deep water. 

I suggest you try to end your workout within 10-15 minutes of the onset of discomfort. If you are still getting worse with that strategy then you need to start getting off the water even sooner, and maybe even take some time completely off. 

I agree with your observations about leg length. Straighter legs is usually easier on the sit bones. The downside is that straighter legs require greater posterior chain flexibility to maintain good posture. In addition, straighter legs (especially if flexibility is poor) decreases pressure on the footboard, and powerful paddling can only happen when you can easily get firm constant foot pressure. 

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4 months 5 days ago #36657 by Arcturus
Zachhandler, thanks for the details and the warning. I had forgotten about ischial bursitis. I never got it from cycling but remember reading about it in magazine articles on injuries related to that sport.

Because yesterday the sitbone ache started towards the end (ha ha, bad pun), next time it occurs I will try taking a few minutes’ break right in the ski, just relieving pressure on that place and moving around a bit. As much as I can without falling over. I’ll consider it a way to test my balance. I can tell the pressure was not as bad this time, because sitting on concrete this morning, I could barely feel any soreness—unlike last time when it ached for at least two days afterward.

I doubt I will move the footplate any farther away. It is now to where I am not pushing myself backwards against the rear of the bucket, yet the knee bend is not so steeply angled. For comparison with the rough guidelines I’ve seen in videos, there is more than a fist’s clearance from the back of the knee to the ski, but not a lot more. But this ski doesn’t hump upward anyway (for which I am glad).

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